Saturday, April 16, 2005

Canada Stong and Free

The Fraser Institute and the Economic Institute of Montreal released a policy paper this past week, authored by well-known conservative politicians Michael Harris and Preston Manning. Adding to the growing number of voices demanding a more proactive policy toward shaping Canada'’ future in the global economy, the paper entitled "A Canada Strong and Free", emphasizes wealth creation, democratic accountability and the creation of a Canada-U.S Customs Union. Hurrah for all!

The crisis of corruption that has the Liberal government on its heals – perhaps forced to go to the polls again – has brought upon a renewed questioning about the foundations of confederation. Political commentators are starting to to express more fervently the untenable situation our federal system faces. Regional interests are being promoted at the expense of the great federalist compromises of the past. The Adscam embarrassment, beyond bringing to light corrupt individuals, has shown that the federal bargain with Quebec is flawed. It has showed that Canada as nationalists envision is a charade, a frail marriage on the verge of dissolution. Indeed, if there is an election this June the end result will be a fragmented Canada with separatists in Quebec asserting newfound strength, and a growing power base out of western Canada. The regional interests will be heard, and the powers in Ottawa will be compromised.

From my point of view this is long overdue. It is time the regions started looking out for their own interests. Time for Quebecers to make their own fateful decision once and for all. Time for westerners to exorcise themselves from their colonial position in Canada. And it is time for Canadians to take a proper accounting of the costs of nationhood. A head on grappling of the healthcare system, of our state-centered economy, and our special relationship with the United States. It is clear the Liberal government is interested only in maintaining the status quo. Will Canadians demand broad and courageous new governance? They may be in for it regardless, as the fallout from an election this spring will surely bring the mirror to our face. Be brave, Canada.

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